October 15, 2014: Their Lights Continue to Shine

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them
because you think you might make them sad
by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them.
They didn’t forget they died.
What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived,
and…that is a great gift.”
~Elizabeth Edwards~

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In 2006, after years of pushing for it, the day was recognized by the House of Representatives. In 1988, President Reagan had declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But in my opinion, celebrating this day for ONE day is much easier for a parent who has lost a child than for the whole month.

The International Wave of Light is the simultaneous lighting of candles in memory of these babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at 7pm in your local time zone tonight. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period. Just think about that for a minute. How beautiful!

So tonight at 7pm, wherever you are, light a candle or say a prayer (or do what you do) in memory of all the baby angels that are watching over us and in honor of all the parents left behind to grieve the loss of dreams and bright futures for their children.

These are my special Angels and members of The Club I will be lighting a candle for tonight:

  • Our first baby: Junebug – miscarriage at 13 weeks, June 19, 2002
  • Our second baby: Charles “Charlie” Fleetwood Anthoine – died at 24 days old from late-onset Group B Strep, born May 21, 2003 and died June 14, 2003 – his story here
  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • The daughter of Pam Doherty, Hannah Noelle MacDonald was born still on February 3, 2003 from Group B Strep sepsis. Her father is John MacDonald.
  • Oliver Nelson Wright, son of Chris and Danna Wright, baby brother to Walker – Born and died October 2, 2010.
  • Leighton Sophie Taylor – daughter of Amy and Chris, twin sister to Jaxon – born May 26, 2011 and died June 17, 2011 from Group B Strep
  • Stephanie and Anna Causley – daughters of Paul and Robyn Causley – miscarriages at 12 and 6 weeks, respectively in 2003.
  • Sara Kay – born still September 7, 2009
  • Susan and Matt’s baby – miscarriage at 12 weeks – December 25, 1999
  • Emma Jade – Kat’s sweet baby – miscarriage at 9 weeks in 2001
  • Cara Jennifer – daughter of Carrie-Ann – born and died on August 17, 2010 – lived 12 minutes
  • Jill and Kyle Clay’s babies – Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2004 and Baby Clay , miscarriage October 2005 – both around 10 weeks
  • Allison Reid – daughter of Robin and Sean Reid – though she was not an infant when she died, she contracted the same bacteria that Charlie did and suffered long-term challenges. Allison was born on March 1, 2002 and died on January 25, 2008. I had the honor of meeting Allison and she was a fabulous fighter.
  • Cason Heard Adams- January 27, 1989-December 4, 2001 , was called home to live with the angels. He was a bright light to all that knew him and is greatly missed everyday by his family and friends.
  • Cora Mae McCormick – November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009
  • Skye, Dakota and Martina – Nanna Chris and Mommy Staci and Little Sister Joclynn’s triplets – July 7th, 2007
  • Drew and Amanda’s Baby – miscarriage October 6, 2010
  • Brianna Elizabeth Franzen – Daughter of my friend, Julie. Born January 29, 1998 and died March 7, 1998 from a heart defect.
  • Cecily’s Sons – Nicholas and Zachary, October 27, 2004
  • Shauna’s Babies – one at 16 weeks, one tubal pregnancy
  • Erin’s Babies – Baby 1, September 2006, miscarriage; Baby 2, January 2007, miscarriage; Baby Girl 1, December 2008, late miscarriage; Baby Girl 2, born still on August 17, 2009 at 18 weeks.
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Baby – Baby Childs, miscarried June 12, 2006
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Friend’s Son – Jonah Oliver, delivered and died on Thanksgiving Day 1997 at 18 weeks gestation.
  • Becca’s friend’s daughter – Chandler Rivers, born 13 weeks early and died a week before her due date.
  • Jessica and Mark’s Daughter: Hadley Jane, born October 9, 2007 and died October 11, 2007.
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003
  • Trish’s baby “Peanut”
  • Michael and Robin’s babies – miscarriage at 5 weeks in April 2009, and miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2012
  • Olivia Grace – daughter of my friend Barbara. She was born January 8, 2004 and died August 23, 2004 from bacterial meningitis.
  • Sunday’s babies – Tomorrow Dawn- December 1993, miscarried at 8 weeks and Samuel- January 2002, miscarried at 11 weeks (named our first son Samuel in his honor and memory)
  • Lindsay’s baby – little one lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks in May 2003
  • Lynn’s 8 babies – 5 lost at 14 weeks and 3 lost early at 8-10 weeks
  • Ms. Marie’s baby – miscarriage October 1977
  • Isabella Pearl De Leon – Stillborn one week before scheduled delivery. March 5, 2011. Paul & Nicole De Leon
  • Nora Henke -  Born still December 30, 2012
  • Mike & Lauren’s babies: miscarriage at 6 wks in 1999; miscarriage at 7 wks in 2000; miscarriage at 10 wks in 2001
  • Carter Austin – March 18, 2006
  • Tucker Harris Neu and Fletcher Thomas Neu
  • Fiona Jane Tully was stillborn on May 8, 2011, and her sister, Brigid Eileen Tully, lived from May 8, 2011 to June 23, 2011 – daughters of Eileen Tully
  • Leah Brook Tomlin – daughter of Bevin and Adam, sister of Taylor. Born January 7, 2013 and died January 13, 2013 from Prenatal-Onset GBS
  • Carl Martin Kerr – passed away in utero at 6 months. Born on January 25, 2013. Baby Kerr – miscarried at 6 weeks on August 25, 2013. Both children of Solanke and Cincia and siblings to Isabella.
  • Jacob, born at 20 weeks in 2006. Lived for 52 minutes. Son of Nick and Melissa Tabbert.
  • Isabella-Rose Elizabeth, born still October 12, 2009, daughter of Tia.
  • Bailey Winter Dumitru, son of Tori and Kevin, born at rest December 8, 2007.
  • Renee’s daughter, Lucielle Diane, born and died July 15, 2013
  • Caleb Andrew Franklin, beloved Son of Julie and Andy. Born at 24 weeks on August 17, 2004 and died August 25, 2004.
  • James Chadwick “Chad” son of Jimmy and Debbie and brother to Kristen, born and died November 16, 1980 due to a placental abruption.
  • Asher Vinsant, son of Kylie Vinsant, born January 4, 2012 and died January 12, 2012 due to Early Onset Group B Strep.
  • Eve, daughter of Wade & Kacey Dixon, born October 21, 2010 and died November 4, 2010 from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • Amelia, daughter of Bob and Catherine, born May 4th, 2014 and died June 1st, 2014.
  • Angel Wills, baby of Michael and Jamie, August 2010.
  • Henry, son of Sara and Brian, born May 29, 2007 and died December 17, 2007.
  • Andrea and Jay’s baby. Miscarriage in November 2010.
  • Heather’s daughter, Clara Edith Webb, who was stillborn on July 1, 2012 at 42 weeks 3 days gestation.

** I will add babies if you email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com to tell me you want me to add your angel. I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to publish without your permission. These are from previous years and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

The Photographs

The Photographs

We had been talking about getting a fancy digital camera.

In 2003, there weren’t a million choices like there are now, and the choices that were out there were either expensive or Capital E Expensive. We’d done our homework and knew which one we were going to get.

But we had time.

After all, the baby wasn’t due until June.

Until it was time.

As I moaned and groaned in the L&D room, my husband gave his work-wife instructions on EXACTLY which camera it was. The lens size. The case he wanted. The extra memory card he would need so he could fill it with memories of this day. And to hurry. Instructions to take his credit card and hurry.

She came back with our camera.

Lucky for the camera, labor took for-freaking-ever so the battery had time to charge and Jason had time to read the instructions.

A couple hundred pictures were taken with that camera over the next few days and weeks. We had enough memory in the card and computer to hold many more days and weeks and months and years of memories.

Little did we know…

Yesterday morning I woke up to a notification that a photo had been shared on my wall. I figured it was a meme of some sort that I was tagged in so I could share with my favorite people so I wouldn’t have bad luck.

But no. It was a photo. A real photo. Of Charlie.

Well, I take that back. You couldn’t really see him because he was in a front carrier and it was from a distance. But it was a photo of him. And us. The three of us. A family. Because something that’s even more rare than photos of him are photos of all three of us together (there are now two).

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 4.14.37 PM

My friend’s mother in law had snapped the photo at Relay for Life and it’s spent the last 11 years in an album in her home. Now it’s headed my way and will be added to the handful of tangible memories we have.

And now I have to wonder if there are more pictures out there… maybe there are. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see them one day.

Until then, when the photos in my head start getting blurry, I have one extra one to pull out to remind me that he was once here with us.

Running Contentment

Running Contentment

This week I wrote down the word “Contentment.”

Contentment is always a goal of mine. Sometimes I feel content with life and other times I feel like I’m flailing around like a fish out of water. I long for the times where I can just be.

I’m one of those people who is silently competitive. I like to raise more money than everybody else for my TeamRMHC races (yes, see sidebar for the link to donate). I like to be part of things that are just starting out (see twitter, ello, instagram). In high school I wanted to always win all the awards I could at dance team camp. I’m pretty good at quietly being competitive when it’s something I love. I like to be the best at things. It just feels good.

Lately I’ve felt very much NOT content with my running. I’m not getting faster, at least not a lot faster. It seems I’ve put on weight and allowed myself to get out of shape, causing me to huff and puff through a 1.5-2 mile run. In my head I’m better than that. In my head, it’s easy. In my heart, I want it to be easy. I want to be the best I can be. To be content.

red hare chase 5k

This morning, I ran with my running buddy and cheerleader, Sharon. We headed over to Cobb County and ran a 5k for beer while being chased by Red Hares.

It was a hard and hella hilly race, and my first race since March. Luckily, I hadn’t looked at the elevation chart beforehand because it was pretty much all uphill for the first 2 miles. And like I do, I kept apologizing to Sharon for being so slow. I think I heard her threaten to hit me if I said it again, but I get very self conscious because I’m slow. She runs 9 minute miles and I run 14-15 minute miles. But she reminded me that she WANTED to run with me so I shut up. We were doing it for fun and beer. That’s it. We weren’t out to win the race.

After we finished, drank our beer(s), ate our hot dogs and then stopped at Chick Fil A, I drove home where I immediately posted to a friend that I finished – that I’d had beer and that it was ok to have two before 9:30am because it’s game day and how it kicked my ass.

She responded with Congrats and that (ugh) I’ve inspired her to get back at it.

And that’s when I realized it. I kinda AM finding myself content with my running.

I run how I run.

Which is with arthritis, with big toes that don’t bend at all, and with about 50 extra pounds on me.

Every step is painful and make me question whether I’ve had my medicine or put enough topical pain reliever on my feet. But the good news is that after about 2 miles, the pain is so great I don’t really feel it. But every step is a chore.

But then there are those last 5 steps over the finish line. And they are absolutely worth it.

I’ve found intervals I love (1:30 run/:30 walk) and when I feel like it, I listen to my body. Sometimes it says run through the walk interval and sometimes it says, “Jana, you need to walk for 5 minutes or I’m going to give up.” I’ve learned to hear its cries, and to be honest, no matter what I do, I end up finishing in just about the same time.

I’m content with where I am, with how fast (slow) I run, with the aches and pains I feel and work through, and with the fact that even though I’ll never be THE BEST, I’m content to be MY BEST.

And that’s all I really need  to ever be.

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Today, Jason and I mark our 16th wedding anniversary. I know what you’re thinking… “She must’ve been 10 when she got married.” No, actually, I was 22 and three weeks out of college. A baby, yes. A child bride, not quite.

I look at Pinterest and see photo shoots my friends do of some amazing weddings, weddings I wish were mine. Oh, if I had it all to do over, I would do this, that and the other thing. 

No. Actually I wouldn’t change a thing.

It was a at the beach, a week after a tropical storm blew through. A destination wedding before destination weddings were cool.

It was the only off weekend for Auburn AND Georgia. And Georgia Tech was playing away. (Those are the most important details, y’all.)

The morning of the wedding, the hotel decided to lay new St. Augustine sod right in the area where the aisle was. Do you know how hard it is to walk on fresh sod?

I did my own flowers, except the bouquets and boutonnieres.

My cake decided to lean at a precarious angle, causing friends to dismantle it while we were taking pictures. I was hardheaded and refused to cut it before it was time in the pre-arranged schedule.

Everything didn’t go according to plan, but at the end of the night, after everybody else went to the Village to see The Outfield play a concert, we were married. Til death do us part.

Lighthouse Wedding

 

And to this day, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not about our wedding day, and not about our life together. Sure, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, but life isn’t always roses and sunshine. And it’s led us to where we are and led us to the life we’ve made.

We’ve defied the odds and laughed at statistics. People don’t survive things we’ve been through.

But we have. So far, we’re still standing.

Happy 16th Anniversary, Jason. Here’s to many more!

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.

Things are changing.

Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.

He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.

It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.

In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.

Growing up isn’t easy.

4thgrade

His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.

He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”

These changes are inevitable.

This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.

“I hope you have a great day, bud.”

“Ok, mom. You, too.”

“I’ll see you this afternoon.”

He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”

I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.

And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.

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